Skills and knowledge, self –confidence, leadership, and helping others.
These are the words Gayle used to describe what she learned as a BERT (Bata’ng Empowered and Resilient Team) facilitator in her school. At the age of 12, Gayle is already teaching other children basic knowledge on Disaster Risk Reduction through BERT actual demonstrations and classroom activities.
“When Typhoon Haiyan came to our barangay, we experienced the heaviest rain and strongest winds. Our house, as well as our neighbors’ houses were all damaged by the typhoon. We didn’t expect it to be that strong, no one warned us that it would be stronger than the past typhoons that we had experienced. So when Haiyan hit, we panicked. We didn’t know what we should do first.” says Gayle, when asked about her experience during typhoon Yolanda.
Now, two years after Haiyan, Gayle has learned many things when it comes to responding to calamities.
“Before the typhoon, we should be alert listening to news in radio and TV, and take note of the assigned typhoon signal in our regions. We should prepare enough food and clothing, gather our important documents, and bring them with us to the evacuation center if we need to leave. During the typhoon, it is important to remain calm and make sure that everyone is safe inside the evacuation center. We should wait for a go signal before we leave the evacuation center. We should also clean and fix our house to make sure that it is free from hazards that can cause us harm.”
Save the Children, through the help of Prudence Foundation, has reached a total of 3,017 school children within the past year through project “Rebuilding Children’s lives in the Philippines”. Among these children are 100 BERT Facilitators who continue to share and teach other children the importance of preparedness and resilience during disasters.
“When we, BERT Facilitators, teach our schoolmates and friends, we always tell them that it is important to have the knowledge and skills on disaster risk reduction. Through trainings and classroom activities, we teach them basic first aid, proper hygiene and hand washing, and even children’s rights during and after calamities.”
“Save the Children and Prudence Foundation have greatly helped our school and our students. They helped us rebuild some of our school buildings and water, hygiene and sanitation facilities. Our students were given trainings on disaster preparedness. We are really grateful for their help. After the trainings and DRR Camp, our children have become more confident and better trained, which also makes our school more ready for disasters.” Liezel, Gayle’s BERT Adviser shares.
Gayle’s mother is also proud that her daughter is making a difference in the community. She says:
“Gayle has learned many things through the trainings and camps that she has attended. She even tells us what to do at home, and that we should always be ready for calamities. She is now more knowledgeable and confident in teaching other kids. I think that if not for Save the Children and Prudence Foundation, Gayle will not be able to experience a lot of learning opportunities and I am very happy and proud of Gayle’s achievements as a BERT facilitator.”
Save the Children has been working in the province of Iloilo since 2013, immediately after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.
Through the funding of Prudence Foundation, Save the Children has designed a BERT education module that enables teachers to integrate basic DRR principles in classroom lessons and activities to help children learn, survive, and be protected in times of disasters. We have also reached a total of 10 schools in Panay Island, teaching children the basic knowledge about disaster risk reduction and resilience. All 3,017 children are now equipped to share their knowledge with their fellow children, to help others have a better understanding of the importance of disaster preparedness at such an early age.